Mint juleps evoke an image of the sultry South: warm days, lazing about on a fainting couch while cooling off with the delicious drink. And there’s mojitos – the sexy Cuban concoction of rum, sugar, and mint. What it is about mint and hot weather? The word itself, mint, conjures up the concept of “cool,” “refreshing,” and “crisp.” We all want “minty-fresh” breath or to have “minty-clean” teeth. But did you know that Mentha, as it is known in the plant kingdom, has dozens of uses as a health remedy too?  Read below for some great health applications, then spice up summer barbeques with fun recipes!

Digestion & Upset Stomach

Wonder how après-dinner mints became the rage? Mint works as a natural digestive by stimulating the act of salivation, making a soothing remedy for stuffed bellies, gas, and other intestinal distress. Specifically, peppermint oil has been found to relax stomach muscles and alleviate nausea and vomiting.

Headache

Next time a headache strikes, instead of reaching for aspirin, try dabbing mint oil on your forehead. Mint and mint oil can be very soothing to headaches as it can help allay the inflammation triggering your head pain. Plus, the aroma of mint can be very calming and healing.

Cough & Cold

The congestion-relieving properties of mint make it a great natural cough and cold remedy. Mint gently relaxes the bronchial passages and soothes sore throats, reducing the amount of associated coughing. It is a more eco-friendly solution than aerosol-based inhalers for opening the airways, which is why many cough suppressants contain mint.

(image credit: Organic Facts)

Mood

Mint is a wonderful stimulating, yet soothing tonic on your nervous system. Specifically, the oil from peppermint has been shown to ease stress, reduce nervousness, and promote feelings of well-being. For frayed nerves, sprinkle some oil into your bath, or add to a diffuser as aromatherapy.

Fresh Breath

The natural antiseptics found in mint (specifically peppermint oil) make this herb an excellent ingredient for your teeth. Many brands of toothpaste carry mint to some extent, as it freshens breath and helps prevent the germs that cause odious gingivitis. For a minty mouth, try adding peppermint powder to your toothpaste.

Skin

Peppermint oil has antipruritic properties, meaning it fights itching. Along these lines, it helps calm inflammation, and is a wonderful skin cleanser. It can also be used to fight dandruff, and is contained in many shampoos (or can be added) for this purpose. For use on the skin, a little oil can be blended with your moisturizer.

Tasty Recipes with Mint

While mint has many wonderful medicinal properties and applications, it has a delicious flavor that accentuates many types of food. Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring mint; try them at your next barbeque!

Lamb Burgers with Mint-Yogurt sauce

Lamb is a delicious alternative to chicken or beef and is wonderfully complemented by mint.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Open-Face-Lamb-Burgers-with-Mint-Yogurt-Sauce-108342

Classic Rum Mint Mojito

A refreshing summer cocktail that is both sweet and tangy.

http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/mjto_cktl.htm

Mint Julep

Another cooling summer specialty that is beloved throughout the South (and quickly gaining a national following).

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mint-Julep-234757

 

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